Spanish croquetas are seen on just about every tapas bar and often contain salt cod or jamón. These ones, flavoured with chicken and mushrooms, are served with garlicky alioli (the Spanish version of aioli) and a red capsicum purée.
80 grams butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
50 grams button mushrooms, finely chopped
80 grams plain flour
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken stock
grating of fresh nutmeg
250 grams finely diced, cooked chicken
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1½ cups dry breadcrumbs or Panko crumbs
olive oil or vegetable oil for frying
1 red capsicum, roasted, peeled and seeded
½ cup good quality mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, crushed
Croquettes: Melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the shallot until tender. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle over the flour and stir over a medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Combine the milk and chicken stock and gradually whisk into the flour. Season and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg, chicken and flat-leaf parsley. Tip into a lightly greased shallow dish and cool. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
To cook: Form into 4 cm long croquettes. Roll them in flour then in the egg, allowing the excess to drip off. Roll in the breadcrumbs, coating well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Heat a heavy-based saucepan with 4 cm of oil until 170°C on a sugar thermometer or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 20 seconds. Fry a few croquettes at a time until golden. Drain on paper towels and keep warm until all are cooked.
To finish: Purée the capsicum until smooth. Season. Combine the mayonnaise and garlic and season.
To serve: Arrange the croquettes on a serving plate and top each one with a little aioli and capsicum purée. Serve immediately. Makes about 24